Pew study: Majority of experts think AI tech will be positive for humans

A majority of artificial intelligence (AI) experts believe that, by 2030, AI will have had a positive impact on humans, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

When asked whether AI will positively impact humans by 2030, the study found that 63 percent of experts said humans would be better off and 37 percent said they wouldn't be.

Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, said in the study that AI and related technologies have "already achieved superhuman performance in many areas, and there is little doubt that their capabilities will improve, probably very significantly, by 2030."

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"I think it is more likely than not that we will use this power to make the world a better place. For instance, we can virtually eliminate global poverty, massively reduce disease and provide better education to almost everyone on the planet," Brynjolfsson added, though he warned AI could also be used to "to increasingly concentrate wealth and power."

Some leaders in the tech industry have warned that AI presents a threat to humans. Tesla CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskHillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference NASA targeting early 2020 for first manned SpaceX mission Hillicon Valley: Senate Intel report urges action to prevent 2020 Russian meddling | Republicans warn Microsoft of 'urgent' Huawei threat | Court rules FBI surveillance violated Americans' rights MORE, for example, said last year that AI presents a bigger risk than North Korea.

Marina Gorbis, executive director of the Institute for the Future, sounded the alarm about AI's dangers in the Pew study, saying that AI could cause greater economic inequalities.

“Without significant changes in our political economy and data governance regimes, [AI] is likely to create greater economic inequalities, more surveillance and more programmed and non-human-centric interactions," Gorbis said.